Cape Breton Coal Miners Museum reopens with immersive virtual tour

A new state-of-the-art and accessible virtual mine simulator opened in Glace Bay, N.S., on Wednesday.

The Cape Breton Miner's Museum is banking on the new attraction to generate business, after a year with very little revenue.

It's a virtual ride back in time and a history lesson on Cape Breton's rich coal mining history.

"People are blown away," says Mary Pat Mombourquette, the museum's executive director. "People just love the experience. We've had people openly weeping during it, it's a really moving experience."

The simulator is part of a whole experience, which begins in the orientation room.

Visitors meet a miner and his wife, they learn about their life before taking the virtual tour.

So far it's been a big hit.

"It's different and you would swear you were down there," said visitor Peter Baccardax. "It was nice, very good."

"It just gave you a real perspective about how things use to be," said Sherry Baccardax.

Wednesday is the first day the museum opened their doors for the summer season, and already calls are coming in

"I've had a lot of interest on the phone," Mombourquette said. "A lot of phone calls, a lot of emails, so I'm hoping these people are really interested in coming and visiting."

Mary Pat Mombourquette hopes the simulator will create a business boom coming off a year when visits were was down 95 per cent.

"We generate a lot of our operating revenue through earnings, that's people walking through the doors," said Mombourquette.